Interview published on 27 may 2007 in Politika

The fantastic reception of Promise me this, gave smiles on the faces of the audience shows one more time that Kusturica is a very appreciated director in Cannes. We found him in his hotel waiting for the premiere gala, and asked him some questions after the early screening for the press.

  • Is this Japanese fairy tale or Serbian turbo-folk ?
    • Emir Kusturica : If you say turbo, and don't make a joke of that, then it is ! I tried to make a very simple story like in the Japanese films : go to the city and do this and that. Then I put Tsane in strange situations, and searched what would happen. The film is structured like my old films, but with the energy and fusion of the last ones. I heard that I had woken up some journalists this morning, and they thanked me in every step today. That fantastic energy is some kind of our trade mark. I gave promise to the director of the festival that I will make a special drink “Kusturica energy”, and provide it to them, to keep them awake during the festival. Because this is my last competition, and I really think this is boring to be always in Cannes. People will comment : enough of him, after 23 years… I'm lucky because my films are always dedicated to life and passion.
  • The film finishes with the words “This smells like provocation” : Who is provoked in this film ?
    • EK : Everybody ! This film is art but with very precise political concept and that kind of thinking about art confirmed my status in world of big differences and world of beautiful things. Just from that untouched world, man can be so joyful in life and make films like some Dionisiac drinking party, and don't be slave of the genres and patterns the other authors use. In Supermarkets you have now a “biological food” section, and here in Cannes we all have our kind of section, and my films are very biological. Others will love to discover my secret, and that's why they can't copy me.
  • In this film you give a clear message, that wars today don't happen because of hate, but for love and mercy…
    • EK : It is the war design. Like that poor guy in Underground asks “what will be with humanity ?” you answered : perversion. The sentence in Promise me this that Hitler attacked Poland because of hate, and that today's attacks are for love is so correct. In the new war design, they can precisely attack you with aeroplanes and you can do nothing. In the book of Naomi Klein1) is written that 21st Century is the time of the brands, which in a psychological point of view, will replace the product. And “brand” is such an ugly word ! Nobody speaks about product and quality is not important. War is just like that. Today the world is fucked up, and it's just the place for making jokes, and kill yourself. But, my films and my aesthetics are fanatic replacement to forget about suicide, and somehow, that saved me.
  • This will make angry the “European oriented Serbs”, the “globalists” and the businessmen in transition like his mentors.
    • EK : Of course, because they have the capital and lot of money. The NGO sector here is connected with them but they just have “pocket money”, no one phones them to verify what is true. Military power is their hand, and they govern the land with their ideas : if they need to kill you for love, it is done. So, there is no capital “D” in democracy. When I look like an “anti democrat” in the mirror, I know that I'm a bigger democrat than them, but that is my secret.
  • In this film you give homages to Tarkovski, Scorsese, Fellini. Is this your way to honour them ?
    • EK : I wasn't born in a village, and my energy is taken form turbulent places, and such a compilation is very easily recognizable. Since the begining I always take quotes from my favourite directors. This film is totally “retro” and it's the sign I'm getting old.
  • This looks like your “Dolly Bell” moved from Sarajevo to Zlatibor.
    • EK : Yes, that is correct. Those who didn't understand, and I know that there are some here, maybe will get 3 days after. You must make an understandable story, and don't ever forget that a film is a fantastic weapon to help people with positive energy on human brain. If you don't do this, your film is empty. I think that 25 world production is absent, and production discovered new names in film industry making thriller or action genre… Miki Manojlović, Aleksandar Berček, Ljiljana Blagojević, Stribor are fantastic actors. How do you squeeze them ? Because I guess that they could not squeeze you, you just don't squeeze that type of person. I hit myself and them also. They agree with that treatment because working with me is like sneaking into my soul. From the other side, when they see how I pressure myself, all the crew feels sympathy and goes further.

Politika, 27.May Dubravka Lakic - translation by Nina Novaković & Matthieu Dhennin

1) Naomi Klein became a leader of alterglobalisation thanks to her best-seller No Logo (2000), reference of the anticapitalist movements of the beginning of the new century. She denounces the reduction of the public space to the profit of big companies which impose themselves thanks to their logo. She reveals the exploitation of the poverty by these big brands of the modern capitalism which are McDonald's, Nike, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Wal-Mart…
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